If hockey were not the national sport of Pakistan, cricket would have been it. Since the birth of Pakistan in 1947, the love for cricket among youth has only increased. The routine was set – wake up early, get your cricket gear on, grab the ball and bat, go to the nearest empty street, set up the pitch (putting bricks for wickets and using small rocks to mark the boundaries), and start the game. The whole neighborhood would wake up with the shouts “CATCH KARO!” and “KIA BALLING HAI YAAR”. No one would mind this sort of play because it was a game of passion and everyone would understand it.
With the change in societies and the growth of more sophisticated neighborhoods, street cricket is dying. People have started going to indoor cricket areas where everything is artificially installed. This is not to say that indoor cricket does not have its own perks but when it comes to the adrenaline rush that one would get while catching a ball in the middle of traffic, you have to agree that feeling is just incomparable. The support of the little kids standing watching their elder siblings play is something you can never get in an indoor environment. The worst of it all is perhaps the limited number of people who can play indoors. You can have only 6 to 8 people in one team.
Traditional Pakistani cricket while not dead yet, is on its way to a slow demise. While we might still catch a glimpse of young men playing in the small galiat of Lahore or Karachi, the frequency with which these matches occur is getting less day by day. We miss the time when such street matches were the highlight of the whole neighborhood.
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